Pope Invites the Poor to the Circus, and Animal Activists Protest

Some struck a softer tone.

“Surely there is no structure, circus or zoo that can keep wild animals in optimal conditions, as they are by nature wild,” stated Antonino Morabito of Legambiente, Italy’s greatest environmental affiliation.

“But the social message of the pope didn’t mean to address this specific problem,” Mr. Morabito stated. “At least that is my impression.”

The free present, described as the “Solidarity Circus,” was organized by the Vatican’s charity workplace, generally known as the almoner, after the pope noticed circus performers at certainly one of his normal hearings. The Vatican stated in an announcement that the tickets to the Medrano Circus had been supposed as an “encouragement to overcome the harshness and difficulties in life that so often seem too big and impossible to overcome.”

The neediest can even obtain a field meal at the finish of the present, and outdoors the circus tent a cellular medical clinic will provide assist with routine well being issues, the Vatican stated.

The workplace of the almoner historically cares for the weak. Among its current initiatives are showers and barber outlets for the poor close to the Vatican, and a personal tour of the Sistine Chapel. Last November, it hosted a gourmand meal for the needy at the Vatican.

The Vatican stated the invitation to the circus was consistent with its mission, and the Medrano Circus echoed its message. It additionally defended its remedy of animals.

“We respect everyone’s ideas, but the law allows us to keep the animals under strict guidelines that we carefully follow,” stated Salvatore Mendola, a supervisor of the circus. “We care for animals and take excellent care of them.”

Mr. Mendola stated that Medrano’s animals had been examined by the well being authorities upon arrival in each Italian metropolis.

He additionally stated the circus had made modifications after a 2016 court docket case that concerned animal mistreatment. The court docket, in the northern metropolis of Padua, imposed an eight-month suspended sentence on the circus’s former supervisor in that case. An enchantment is pending.

“The circus is a show that brings happiness and beauty to everyone,” Mr. Mendola stated. “We — and I think also the pope — only want to offer that to those who don’t have the means to afford the ticket.”

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